DarTalk rates to drop in January

by Alice Gomstyn | 11/24/99 6:00am

DarTalk long distant rates will be 10 cents a minute any time, day or night starting January 1, 2000, Student Assembly member Casey Sixkiller '00 announced last night.

The new rate is markedly lower than the current rate, which is sixteen cents during the day and twelve cents at night.

Sixkiller, who is chairman of the Assembly's Committee on Student Life, stresses that the new rate is temporary.

"This is just the beginning. We'd like to see it go lower," he said.

Sixkiller attributes part of his committee's success in reducing the rate to the enthusiasm and support of the Larry Levine and Betsy McLain of the Department of Telephone Services, which runs DarTalk.

The Department of Telephone Services was overhauled last year to be included under the umbrella of the Computing Services department. Among the new staff members in the department were Levine and McLain.

Sixkiller said he was surprised by the willingness of the two to work with the Committee on Student Life to establish lower phone rates, being that the department's staff prior to the overhaul were reluctant to work with students.

Beginning with meetings early in the term, the Committee on Student Life and staff from the Department of Telephone Services worked together to find money within the college budget to supplement a decrease in long distance rates.

"What many people don't realize is that the College does not make money off the long distance plan," Sixkiller said.

In fact, the College will be spending money in order to institute a lower rate, although there will be no additional cost to students.

Sixkiller is optimistic that rates will be reduced even further because the college will be renegotiating its contract with its current long-distance carrier, AT&T, in October of 2000. If a satisfactory agreement with the carrier cannot be reached at that time, the college may switch to another long distance company.

According to Sixkiller, the Department of Telephone Services is also looking to make other changes including several different rate plans for students to choose from, lower international rates and lower rates for student organizations.